4 Things Trump Did During the North Korea-U.S. Summit That Broke Protocol

President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the summit in Singapore. | Kevin Lim/The Strait Times/Handout/Getty Images

The good news is that President Donald Trump finally met with Kim Jong Un — at the very least, it gives us the sense that nuclear war is less likely in the short term. The bad news is that the results of the summit are somewhat vague. Trump said that Kim had “reaffirmed” his commitment to denuclearization, but he added few details about what Kim would actually do to back up his pledge.

Donald Trump’s behavior during the summit broke protocol — of course — which might be a good or bad thing. Click through to see what Trump did — and form your own opinion.

1. He returned a military salute to a North Korean three-star general

When Trump reached out to shake the hand of the minister of the People’s Armed Forces, the minister saluted him instead, according to Yahoo. Next, Trump saluted him back, but and the general reached out to shake hands. The awkward moment ended in the two shaking hands.

The White House defended Trump’s decision to salute the minister. “It’s a common courtesy when a military official from another government salutes, that you return that,” said presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

2. Some raised eyebrows when Trump saluted the minister

Because the U.S. and North Korea are technically still at war, some did not support Trump saluting the minister, according to Yahoo.

“I have never seen an American president salute an officer of another military, let alone a military that acts as a brutal enforcer of human slavery and awful prison camps in a gulag across its nation,” said James Stavridis, a retired top NATO commander. “It was a mistake.”

3. Trump ignored his briefing

According to CNN, Trump was briefed on protocol prior to the meeting. He was told not to salute military officers from other countries.

But Trump often ignores protocol, as we all have seen. The White House, however, feels what the president did was part of the broader goal that day, which was to show Kim and his entourage respect.

4. There is no set rule on how American presidents should meet foreign leaders

There isn’t a hard and fast rule about how American presidents should meet foreign leaders, according to Yahoo. And Donald Trump criticized Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign for bowing to the Saudi king. “@BarackObama bowed to the Saudi King in public — yet the Dems are questioning @MittRomney’s diplomatic skills,” tweeted Trump.

Obama also took some heat in 2014 when he stepped off Marine One in New York and saluted with a coffee cup in his hand. The “latte salute,” even got its own hashtag on Twitter.

5. He did a live interview after the summit

Trump’s break with decades of protocol didn’t occur during the summit, but soon after, according to the Virginian Pilot. He ventured out to the executive mansion’s North Lawn and conducted a live interview with Fox News.

Trump took a half-hour of questions from a Fox anchor and another half-hour of questions from White House correspondents. During the interview he mentioned that his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un averted “nuclear war.”

6. He showed Kim inside the presidential limo

President Trump’s historic nuclear disarmament summit with Kim Jung Un involved a lunch at the opulent Capella resort in Singapore. After lunch, Trump showed the North Korean leader  the inside of the presidential limo, nicknamed “The Beast,” according to Yahoo.

Sure, the limo is impressive. The Cadillac has eight-inch-thick doors, can survive a roadside bomb, and has an oxygen system in case of a chemical attack. But when is the last time a president invited someone to see the inside of the presidential limo? Um, never?

7. Trump pulled this move, too

President Trump got what he wanted, but he also gave Kim something he has wanted for a long time, according to Yahoo. Trump promised to end — at least for now — the annual American-South Korean military exercises.

The break with protocol? Trump didn’t let Seoul know in advance. And that has both Democrats and Republicans worried, because the South is a key ally in the area.

Read more: The Dangerous World Leaders Donald Trump Deeply Admires

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